GREEENSBORO, N.C. (WDRB) – The No. 2-ranked University of Louisville women’s basketball team knew it would be undersized against No. 3 Notre Dame in Sunday’s ACC Tournament championship game.
But the Cardinals were also undermanned. Playing without starting guard Arica Carter, and after a second-quarter injury without leading rebounder Sam Fuehring, the Cards got pummeled in the paint and on the glass in a 99-79 loss to the defending national champions in Greensboro Coliseum.
The loss likely doesn’t hurt Louisville’s standing as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but it does likely mean they’ll be playing a lot farther from home in the regional.
Instead of Chicago, where the Cardinals were slated to play in the most recent NCAA projections, the Cards could be headed to the Portland Regional instead, if they can get through two early round games in the KFC Yum! Center.
Of more concern are the injuries to two key starters, who account for 19.4 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. U of L described Carter’s sitting out as a precaution after she experienced a leg injury in Saturday’s win over N.C. State in the tournament semifinals. Fuehring suffered a hairline fracture in her nose in that game, then landed awkwardly and sprained an ankle in the second quarter.
Coaches initially planned to sit her in the second half as a precaution, but she tried to go, leaving the game before the half was a minute old.
Louisville hung tough early. The Cardinals trailed by 10 after one quarter, but outscored Notre Dame in the second by a point, shooting 69 percent from the field in the period.
In the end, however, Louisville couldn’t stop Notre Dame, the nation’s highest-scoring team.
The Irish shot 50.6 percent for the game and outrebounded Louisville 44-29. The outscored the Cards 72-40 in the paint and 28-17 on second-chance points. Louisville shot 48.5 percent for the game but gave up 17 more field goal attempts than it took.
The Cards didn't help their cause by going 2-for-18 from three-point range.
Bionca Dunham led the Cardinals with 18 points and eight rebounds. Jazmine Jones added 17 points, while Asia Durr finished with 15 and scored only four points in the second half.
All five Notre Dame starters scored in double-figures, led by Jessica Shepard with 30 points and 13 rebounds. Brianna Turner added 20 points and seven rebounds, while Jackie Young had 21, and was named the tournament MVP.
Durr made the all-tournament first-team, while Fuehring was named second-team.
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